No questions asked as Pres. Park sheds her crocodile tears
More than one month after Sewol sinking, President reads prepared statement and leaves for the UAE
By Kim Oi-hyun, staff reporter
President Park Geun-hye took the podium by herself on the morning of May 19 for a public address on the Apr. 16 Sewol ferry disaster. She spoke unaccompanied and exited alone.
Park began the address with an apology.
“As a President who must bear responsibility for citizens’ lives and safety, I sincerely apologize for the suffering that the public has gone through,” she said, stepping out from behind the podium to deliver a deep bow.
Her voice was low during the apology. But when criticizing the inept response by government officials and pledging punishment of companies that focused solely on profits, she stared straight ahead with a stern expression, stressing each word.
Park appeared composed throughout the somewhat lengthy 24-minute address, but her voice began to quiver in the final two minutes as she mentioned the names of some of the victims: Kwon Hyuk-kyu, who is still missing after giving his life vest to his five-year-old sister; Jeong Cha-woong, a high school student who jumped into the water to rescue classmates and was later found dead; and Choi Deok-ha, another high school student who was the first to alert emergency services to the sinking.
As she continued to recite the names of teachers at Danwon High School who lost their lives, Park’s eyes began to well up. By the time she mentioned the names of crew members and a civilian diver who also perished, she was in tears.
She then finished the address and left the podium without taking questions.
During the address, Park proposed putting up a memorial to the Sewol victims and designating the date of the tragedy, April 16, as “National Safety Day.”
Later that afternoon, Park departed for a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates, where she is to attend the installation of the first reactor at a nuclear power plant that is currently under construction there.
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